Blame black metal for the ragged lo-fi punk coming out of Norway being a few shades darker than the punk coming from closer to the equator. Black metal certainly leaves its stain on Okkultokrati’s new album. The first song is possessed by growled vocals not far removed from Darkthrone’s black ‘n roll period. The title track makes more sense out of the jagged chaos and packages into a neater punk presentation. They added a keyboardist to their line up, but keep him buried until they added “We Love You.” This doesn’t turn them into VNV Nation – they are still just as raw and nasty; in fact, this album is rawer than it’s predecessor. The keyboards just throw another texture to the wall of noise they slam dance up against.
The murkier darkwave-like moments don’t come until “Suspension.” The song is so shadowy it’s easy to get lost in it’s more void-like depth that drones and defies the conventions of song writing. The drugs have already worn off and the band is more focused for the black metal like “Hard to Please.” This song lashes out with the atmosphere dripping like war paint from its scowl. They develop a mild flirtation with industrial on “Future War” leading you to imagine what it might have sounded like if Black Metal-era Venom jammed to old Ministry. The energy is so primal that you barely notice the synths tucked back in the mix as they rest of the band comes charging at. One of my favorite moments on this album is the sung vocal that joins the song at the two and a half minute mark, before handing you a solid beating. This beating is administered as varied layers are added to shows maturity in their song writing. Despite being set in a crusty cave “Ocular Violence” touches a new wave. The lead vocals fight against this as they still sound like Cronos, but some balance is brought by the ghostly whispered vocal mixed against it. The song finds them touching on Goth with it’s more danceable grooves.
They end the album by dragging you back to the gutter with the more battering punk of “Magic People,” where they are once again partying at the cross roads of where metal and punk once met. Production-wise, it’s rough around the edges, but production value aside this album is a lot of fun and dark enough to appease a jaded old Goth like me. There were a few points on this album that made me want to just go ahead and dig up my old Venom cassettes, but the darker post punk sections keep me coming back for more. Overall, this is another step forward for the band, and if you like punk and metal, then this album is worth your time – since you probably won’t mind getting your ears a little dirty when it comes to lo -fi rumbling. This album is out now on Southern Lord.
Wil spouts his thoughts and theories on metal / goth/ post-punk/ and darker indie rock on blogs like Abysmal Hymns,No Clean Singing, Geekinthings, Treblezine etc... He is very passionate about horror movies, comic books, the occult and Morrissey , though David Bowie will live on in his heart forever
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